ST. CLAIRSVILLE - When Chas Snider decided to pursue a summer internship with College Works Painting he knew it was going to be a challenge.
An Ohio State University senior pursuing a degree in economics, Snider felt an internship with the largest residential painting company in America would help give him the experience necessary to run a business in the future.
It's been that and more.
''This experience is priceless,'' said Snider, a 2010 St. Clairsville High School graduate. ''I knew it wouldn't get anymore real.''
Snider, a former three-sports athlete with Red Devils, first heard about College Works Painting when the organization made a presentation during one of his classes at OSU. Later, after being being contacted by a CWP representative, he decided to pursue an internship with the company.
''It was kind of neat how it all came together,'' Snider remembered.
After going through a thorough interview process, Snider was named a branch manager.
''It's pretty competitive to get into the internship,'' he explained. ''From the beginning of February until now, we've been doing countless training days, meetings, and a whole bunch of things to better ourselves.''
As a branch manager, Snider is involved in every aspect of the business, except payroll. He handles marketing, hiring and training painters, booking clients, calculating free estimates and sales projections, and weekly calendars.
''Essentially, we're business owners,'' Snider said, noting he's working with Ohio and Pennsylvania clients only.
College Works Painting, which has a contract with Sherwin-Williiams, is fully licensed and insured. It also carries an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
''This is definitely a legitimate business,'' Snider said, noting folks sometimes have their doubts about such ventures. ''It's a pretty secure business. I think the reason a lot people are skeptical is maybe they haven't heard of us.''
Snider started working in the Columbus area, but soon returned to St. Clairsville and set up his internship there. Since doing so, business has flourished.
Snider said part of his success stems from people being familiar with he and his family. The track record of his company plays a large role, too.
''We don't get paid before a job starts,'' Snider stressed. ''We get paid after a job. That's when the client hands us the final check.''
The money isn't the most important part of the experience for Snider. He knows his reputation is on the line when working with customers, so he wants everything to be done right and customers to be happy. To that end, the reference letters customers pen at the conclusion of a job are the most important thing for him.
''That will be a huge factor for my future,'' he said.
Working on others' homes is one of the biggest undertakings of Snider's life. It's a large responsibility, but one he knows will benefit him in the future.
''I wouldn't be able to do this without the support of my family, friends and my girlfriend,'' Snider said. ''And I definitely wouldn't be able to do this without the support of the man upstairs.
''I've basically endured many struggles the past four years and I've persevered. If there's anyone that can get the job done right, it's me.''
Thorp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org